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Egypt’s Opposition Party Has Roots In Colorado

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Sayyid Qutb (credit: CBS)

Sayyid Qutb (credit: CBS)

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GREELEY, Colo. (CBS4)- Tanks have taken over the streets of the most densely populated city on the planet. Cairo, Egypt looks like a war zone.

Egypt’s military has fired on its own people. The president of that country has shut down internet service, and flights in and out of Cairo are grounded.

The violence is aimed at throwing out President Hosni Mubarek. The consequences will impact the U.S. and Middle East.

A man who in 1949 attended Colorado State Teachers College, now the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, has played a significant role in Egypt’s main opposition party because of time in Colorado.

The strongest opposition party in Egypt is the Muslim Brotherhood. Its formative years can be traced to Greeley. It’s there Sayyid Qutb attended what is now UNC.

“The materialism, the sexual promiscuity, the racism, the one-sided support for Israel, all of those things come up in his writings and reflections on the United States,” said Univ. of Denver Assistant Professor Nader Hashemi.

Hashemi has studied Sayyid Qutb who wrote, “The people of Greeley carried within themselves the same moral flaws of materialism and degeneration, that characterized occidental civilization in general.”

“There is this Islamic utopia romantic view of the world he aspires to and there’s the material world of the West he is trying to reject and see coming into Egypt of the 1950s,” said Hashemi.

Qutb despised brutal boxing matches, poor haircuts, enthusiasm for sports and the mixing of the sexes. What he wrote became a philosophical base for groups such as Al Qaeda today.

“There’s debate to what extent he has actually influenced Al Qaeda or Bin Laden,” said Hashemi.

Qutb died in 1966.

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